Reel stories

Sports Film of the Week: In My Book You Should Be Ahead

A fascinating insight into one of Ireland’s oldest clubs and a glimpse of Dublin in the 1970s.

Title: In My Book You Should Be Ahead

Released: 1975.

Director: Brian MacLochlainn

Plot: This 30-minute long documentary charts a week in the life of Shelbourne Football Club as they prepare for the 1975 FAI Cup Final against Home Farm. The no-holds-barred film captures the passion that players, board members and fans alike had for one of Ireland’s oldest and most successful clubs. It gives a glimpse of Dublin in the 1970s and how important a club like Shels were in the community.

For years after their founding in 1895 Shels were at the pinnacle of football in Ireland. This documentary follows the team when they are at their lowest. Without a league title since 1962 Shels were struggling both on and off the pitch. Indeed it wouldn’t be until 1992 when The Reds would finally capture another championship. Despite the seemingly never-ending slump the passion and commitment is still there from everyone in the club.

A notable feature is that the club board are still having the same problems that League of Ireland clubs have to this day. Struggling to attract enough fans through the gate, one memorable line from a board member is that the club are “only getting 10,000 people into the ground” due to competition from “the best picture in town”. Still, almost 40 years later, it’s the same problem that dogs domestic teams, only the competitor and number of fans have changed.

What the critics said: “Shelbourne Football Club were for generations as taken for granted as the tides; now in a world of cumulative change their existence is insecure. They are without a ground of their own; their following is small; they are low in the League. But footballers have a strange mad pride that makes misfortune seem irrelevant -Shelbourne’s displays this season have lacked nothing in spirit. Brian MacLochlainn has made a film about this club and among its many effects is the dispelling of the myth that Irish soccer is dying.” (Con Houlihan).

Random YouTube comment: “Great stuff; brings me back. C’mon Cork Hibs!” (James Fitzpatrick)

GreenArmyNews / YouTube

Check out more Sports Films of the Week here